J.Lo became the powerhouse performer she is today by proving people wrong and playing by her own rules.

The 49-year-old singer, actress, entrepreneur and mother of two took the stage Monday night at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York City to accept the Video Vanguard Award, a coveted prize received by the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna, Britney Spears and Beyonce. The “Dinero” songstress wowed on stage, performing some of her greatest hits like “Waiting For Tonight,” “Love Don’t Cost a Thing,” and “Get on the Floor.”

But her success  didn’t happen over night, as she stressed in her acceptance speech. Here are the best lines from J.Lo about working hard, motherhood and being her best self.

Gucci Mane presents (front) Cardi B, Jennifer Lopez, and DJ Khaled with the Best Collaboration award onstage during the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on August 20, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for MTV)

On facing rejection early on in her career:

Lopez said that throughout her career, people in the industry tried to pigeonhole her into one lane of artistry, like being just a singer, dancer or actress, but she knew she was capable of doing it all. She went on to prove her critics wrong by becoming the first female entertainer to have a No. 1 song (“Love Don’t Cost a Thing”) and No. 1 movie, “The Wedding Planner,” at the box office in the same week (in 2001).

“Music, acting, performing, this career has always been kind of an obsession for me. When people have said, you know ‘You’re doing too much. You can only do one thing.’ I always had it in my mind, I was always a person who was like, ‘Why not? Why not?'” she said.

On carving out her own path as an artist and working hard:

J.Lo knew she had to prove herself as an artist, and that meant working for what she wanted, despite criticism.

“I kind of had to to force my own path, make my own rules. And I was obsessed like that I liked it that way for a while. Just working and working and working.”

How motherhood pushed her to strive for even more for herself and her family:

After giving birth to twins Emme and Max, 10, J.Lo said she felt a renewed energy she hadn’t felt before that pushed her to do more. Having a family made her realize what was most important to her in life.

“It wasn’t until I had two little angels come into my life, that everything changed. You know, I knew I had to be better. I knew I had to go higher, I knew I had to be stronger than I had been before. It was through that unconditional love that my career, that my whole life became clearer in every way,” she said.

Motherhood gave her the drive to do more.

“Today, I stand here stronger and better than ever. So thank you, Max and and Emme. There is so much more to do, and I know in my heart that the future is even brighter than anything I could have accomplished up to now because of you,” she said.

On gratitude and loyalty:

J.Lo went on to individually thank people by name who have supported her since day one — from her backup dancers, to makeup artists she called her “glam fam” and music execs like Tommy Mottola and her mother, father and siblings.

On love:

The “I’m Real” singer also gave a sentimental shoutout to her partner, former New York Yankee Alexander Rodriguez, who held back tears. Earlier in the evening he proudly videoed her performance from the audience.

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez attend Jennifer Lopez’s MTV VMA’s Vanguard Award Celebration. (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for TAO Group)

“And Alex. You are like my twin soul. We are like mirror images of each other. My life is sweeter and better with you in it because you make me realize that every day, the sky is not the limit,” she gushed adding: “There so much more to do and to experience, and there is nobody I would rather do it with, baby. You are my macho, and I love you.”